RWANDAIR CONFIRMS ACQUISITION OF AIRBUS A330 AIRCRAFT FOR FLEET EXPANSION
(Posted 24th March 2015)
As repeatedly suggested her over the past few weeks has RwandAir now confirmed that they have concluded discussions with Airbus for the delivery of two Airbus A330 models due to join the fleet in the second half of next year.
This latest acquisition of the airline’s first two wide body aircraft will allow RwandAir to expand their route network to very likely India, China and a destination in Europe. Their eight aircraft, a new Bombardier turboprop Q400NextGen will join the fleet in a few weeks’ time and word from the grapevine has it that another Boeing B737-800NG is also due to join the airline in early 2016, further boosting the numbers of connecting passengers in Kigali from where they travel onwards to the new long haul destinations.
RwandAir, which has also become Uganda’s adopted airline – Entebbe is now their second mini hub with flights from there to Juba and to Nairobi – has over the past three years aggressively rolled out destination after destination and now comprehensively covers Eastern Africa, Western Africa and Southern Africa. Flights to Lusaka three times a week are due to commence before the end of March, in conjunction with the daily flights to Johannesburg, while the airline is eyeing a similar arrangement with Zimbabwe to route some flights via Harare.
In West Africa does Rwandair fly to Brazzaville, Libreville, Douala, Lagos and Accra while Abidjan is said to be another destination due to be launched later this year. In East Africa does the airline serve Bujumbura, Entebbe, Juba, Nairobi, Mombasa, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam while also, as mentioned earlier, serving Nairobi via Entebbe under fifth freedom rights.
RwandAir’s CEO John Mirenge confirmed the deal when he told the media from his office at the international airport in Kigali: ‘As we look to introduce wide body aircraft for the first time into our fleet, with its proven economics, reliability and passenger comfort, we have found the A330 to perfectly support our plans to expand into Europe and Asia, to enhance our regional presence, to open up new routes and to grow our market share’.
Word was also received from Airbus’ COO John Leahy who was quoted to have added: ‘We are delighted that RwandAir has confirmed its confidence in the A330, and are extremely pleased to welcome them as a new A330 customer. The A330 Family offers a unique combination of unbeatable economics, versatility and fuel efficiency. Passengers will be able to enjoy a new flying experience with state of the art inflight entertainment systems and best-in-class passenger comfort that only Airbus offers’.
It could however not be confirmed if the two aircraft would be leased or acquired by direct purchase nor was any word forthcoming about earlier reported plans by RwandAir to acquire two Boeing B787 Dreamliners.
Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from the entire Eastern African region.